Dane county has been in the process of (a desperately needed & federally mandated) upgrading of their communications system for some time and we are finally on the verge. There just seems to be one problem left. The right wing extremists on the Cottage Grove Village Board. Dane County is paying for the $18 million dollars infrastructure cost and asking the local town’s and village to pay their share of the upgrade and communication cost’s since the towns and villages actually use the system and radios. The Village of Cottage Grove is THE ONLY village in all of Dane County to say no.
The “fiscal conservatives” on the village board have voted it down due to the costs of the project.
Board trustees Micah Zielke and Jeff Weigand support greater communication between emergency services, but are concerned about future maintenance costs.
“We can’t support it because the costs are somewhat unknown,” Zielke said. “I think Dane County should force 100 percent compliance and it should be paid through a tax levy.”
“Why do we have a Dane County Board?” Weigand said. “They should find a way to pay for it. I’m not against greater communication, but we’re also responsible for the Village. Dane County is pushing it onto others. It’s horrible that they’re pinning it on us.”
Unfortunately, the new era of “fiscal conservativism” means the best way to save money is to not pay your bills. Since Dane County has decided that they will cover the costs that Cottage Grove is supposed to pay to keep the process moving forward, what the Village of Cottage Grove is doing amounts to freeloading to make a political point. Town of Cottage Grove trustee Mike Kindschi had a problem with what the Village was doing.
This is where the Village Board has made a very poor decision, voting down the DaneCom Intergovernmental Agreement.
Their decision puts at risk the volunteer and paid staffs of our EMS, police and fire departments, village residents and village property. And they made this decision “after several minutes of discussion.”
The board said they didn’t know what it would cost. That’s ridiculous! Close estimates are available. I find it interesting that the “most vocal” voice in this sad discussion is leaving the board in April and rumor has it, is also leaving the community.
Residents of the village should be questioning this decision.
Outgoing trustee Jeff Weigand(who did not return emails asking for comment) fired back at Mr. Kindschi(obviously forgetting that they recently voted to ban Vicki Mckenna from the village, decided the resolutions that they have passed, do not apply to him wrote:
Last week, I read Town Supervisor Mike Kindschi’s letter to the editor with complete and utter disgust. With lies and scare tactics, Mr. Kindschi is seeking to mislead Village residents over the Village Board’s decision to reject the current DaneCom Radio System proposal. As a Village Board member and current Chair of the Joint Fire Department Committee, allow me to clear the air.
Our decision to reject the DaneCom system will not put any of our emergency services personnel or the constituents they serve at risk. We, as a Village, were told by the county that if we do not voluntarily join the DaneCom system, we will still be included in the system. The only difference is Village residents will not have to pay for this service. I know this sounds unreal, but this is what the county told us.
Mr. Kindschi fired back with a complete but polite education of weigand.
It seems a couple members of the village board are sensitive about their vote to not join DaneCom. They should be! According to their reasons for voting against DaneCom, they were using outdated information and have an idea that they could and would show Dane County who the boss is.
In fact, 31 of 34 towns have joined DaneCom, not six as indicated by the village president. Fact two: only one village (Cottage Grove) has NOT joined DaneCom. All other villages and cities have joined. That means that at least 95 percent of Dane County residents will be part of DaneCom.
Mr. Weigand challenged my statement about putting people and property at risk. Technically, he is right, but only because Dane County doesn’t want people and property to be at risk. That is why DaneCom will include non-paying communities. And the amount not paid by the village and other non-paying communities will be paid by the paying communities. Sounds like Mr. Weigand is comfortable having the village go on welfare for the DaneCom coverage.
The 2012 budget amount for the three towns and Cottage Grove not joining is reported to be about $5,000. So the village would set $59,000 aside for radios, but not pay their share of $5,000. Really?
If Mr. Weigand wants to call me a liar for the stats I’ve used in this letter, he might want to contact the County Executive’s office first. Or he could just ask me for the report. I’d be happy to help him out.
As the saying goes, That’s gonna leave a mark. So for $5000, four members of the Village of Cottage Grove(Weigand, Zielke, Pickel & Viken) have slowed down the process, put people at risk and increased the costs for the paying communities in our County. While they gladly voted voted to spend $5000 on a study about merging the village and town, $5000 to update our county wide communication system was too much. Before we go any further, let’s check in with the chiefs who actually uses this communication system.
EMS Chief Duane Erschen reiterated the need for the new system.
“One way or another, we have to have access to it,” he said.
Sgt. Dave Stortz, officer in charge of the Village Police Department, made a strong case for moving to broadband communication.
“I don’t know what we’re going to do if we don’t go on the system,” Stortz said. “Our portable pagers, quite frankly, suck.”
Village of Cottage Grove Fire Chief Bruce Boxrucker said that while switching to broadband presents costs that are still unknown, board members should, “think about the end result.”
“It’s how you have to work with other entities,” Boxrucker said. “The new channel system would be in the 100s. And now, we’re going on more mutual aids.”
So the EMS, Fire and Police chiefs all expressed how important this system is, the cost is minimal, but yet that did not stop the Village Board from voting it down yet again. One of the reasons given for turning it down?
Additionally, there was a negative reaction to comments the village may be assessed a penalty or sanctions.
Someone on the Village Board’s feelings were hurt!
By the way, for those of you not really paying attention, let me let you in on a little secret. Why are far right extremists like Weigand adamant that Dane County pay for this system completely and the Village pays none. Politics of course.
The more costs(however necessary) that they can push on “liberal” Madison and Dane County, the better it will be if any politician from there runs for statewide office. No matter how many people get killed or hurt in the process. Shame on them
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